I love market gardening! I love making money at something I enjoy doing! I think there has never been a better time to start gardening for money. Whether you have 25 acres, or 5 acres or even less than 1 acre, it's possible to create a successful market gardening business.
These days gardeners have access to tools and information and resources that can absolutely transform the 'traditional' business of market gardening. At the same time, demand for fresh, naturally-grown food is soaring. Cool!
I sometimes feel a lot of the writing about gardening for a living is bound by conventional thinking and outdated ideas.
There are new ideas, tools, and techniques out there that (in my humble opinion) change the equation a lot with respect to making money from your garden.
This 'old-fashioned' view is characterized by phrases like ‘small scale’, ‘low volume production’, and ‘labour intensive'.
While it is true that market gardening will always be work, there are ways to work smarter; many ‘new generation’ market gardeners are using them to create levels of production (and income)only dreamed of on ‘conventional’ farms.
So (to get off my rant for a moment), the purpose of these pages is not to present the ‘common wisdom’, but to point you at really good, solid, innovative yet practical ideas and resources that you can use to on your own farm or small plot of land.
Our information resources are not just about growing vegetables (or even mainly about that). There are good gardening books out there, written by folks with much more experience than I have; they explain those things very well.
By the way, any gardening books I do recommend on this site have been read (and used) by me, so they are probably worth a look if you need that kind of ‘hands-on’ growing information.
But you have to understand that most gardening books just focus on getting a crop in the ground. You need to grow a business as well as growing a garden.
Where I can add value is in showing you some innovative ways to start-up, market and manage your business, and well as some cool tools and techniques to make you more efficient.
- - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - -
A fellow grower lost out on $5,000 in her first season because of one simple mistake. Get your FREE Market Garden Starter Guide and avoid this costly error.
If you are just getting started, there are many questions you should answer before throwing some seed in the ground:
There is a structured process to follow in answering these questions. Every successful business (include market gardeners) should follow a certain set of steps in the right order to get these answers. The steps are:
Determining your income needs and setting targets for sales is called planning. Every successful business starts their business cycle with this step.
So set some targets for sales and income, estimate your expenses, and make sure you can actually make a profit. By the way this is one of the major strengths of the Community Supported Agriculture model; you can set targets, recruit customers, and know exactly how much income you will receive, in advance!
Once you’ve set a sales target, you need to go out and find enough sales (i.e. customers) to meet them. Figuring out who your customers are and then finding them is called marketing.
This does not have to be complicated! You just need to get the word out about your business to the appropriate ‘pool’ of potential customers. If you do this right, customers will come to you.
When customers respond, you then need to put the management practices in place to make sure you can meet their needs.
Finally, after all this comes production. This involves planning your garden - i.e. figuring out how much to grow, when to start plants, when crops will be available for sale, how much land will you need – and then working the plan to reliably produce a salable crop.
Next: What exactly is Bootstrap Market Gardening?. This is the intro to our award winning model for starting-up, marketing and managing a successful small farm business more . . .
Plan your farm business. Plan before your plant! Find out how to set targets for sales and establish a price for your produce to ensure you make a profit
more . . .
Marketing your farm business: part 1. Once you have set sales targets and planned expenses, you need to find customers. Our approach to marketing as let us build a successful small farm business more . . .
Marketing your farm business: part 2 - Finding MORE customers. Once you have tapped you warm market, you will probably need to find a few more likely prospects to meet your targets. New Terra farm has used these methods to build two businesses more . . .
Marketing your farm business: part 3 - Closing the Sale. After you mail out your flyer and the phone starts to ring, then what? How do you respond to your prospective customers to turn them into actual customers? Be ready to respond to customer questions more . . .
Here's a raised bed garden plan that will work for a big home garden or a small market garden. The 5000 sq ft Commercial Garden
What does it take to start your own CSA market garden? I put together this Get-Started Checklist to give you an idea to the timing and the tasks if you want to start growing for market with your own CSA. The Growing for Market Get-Started Checklist
How do you integrate your garden and livestock animal production on a small organic farm? Here's the 5 Acre Farm Plan
You know that I think that Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a great model for farmers and communities, so here are 7 CSA success secrets to help make your CSA a winner. CSA Success Secrets
Market gardening is a great business, but there are things you need to know to be successful. Check out The Truth about Vegetable Farming for Profit
Here's the basic questions you need to answer if you are planning to Start Market Farming
You need a Business Plan for your market garden. Don't start gardening for money until you have established your business plan. Here's how we built the New Terra Farm Market Gardening Business Plan
Why sustainability is important on your small farm. We are consuming resources at a rate far in excess of the capacity of the planet to sustain. Sustainable Organic Farming
Sometimes old news is good news. Here's some practical gardening for profit advice from a couple centuries before this one. Practical advice from 1882
New Terra Farm won the Premier's Award for our CSA market gardening planning and management model. Now you can get our step by step guide to start-up, market and manage your own successful small farm business.